Relations

What are relations

Relations helps you to work with related entities easily. There are several types of relations:

Relation options

There are several options you can specify for relations:

  • eager: boolean - If set to true, the relation will always be loaded with the main entity when using find* methods or QueryBuilder on this entity

  • cascade: boolean | ("insert" | "update")[] - If set to true, the related object will be inserted and updated in the database. You can also specify an array of cascade options.

  • onDelete: "RESTRICT"|"CASCADE"|"SET NULL" - specifies how foreign key should behave when referenced object is deleted

  • primary: boolean - Indicates whether this relation's column will be a primary column or not.

  • nullable: boolean - Indicates whether this relation's column is nullable or not. By default it is nullable.

  • orphanedRowAction: "nullify" | "delete" - When a child row is removed from its parent, determines if the child row should be orphaned (default) or deleted.

Cascades

Cascades example:

import {Entity, PrimaryGeneratedColumn, Column, ManyToMany} from "typeorm";
import {Question} from "./Question";
@Entity()
export class Category {
@PrimaryGeneratedColumn()
id: number;
@Column()
name: string;
@ManyToMany(type => Question, question => question.categories)
questions: Question[];
}
import {Entity, PrimaryGeneratedColumn, Column, ManyToMany, JoinTable} from "typeorm";
import {Category} from "./Category";
@Entity()
export class Question {
@PrimaryGeneratedColumn()
id: number;
@Column()
title: string;
@Column()
text: string;
@ManyToMany(type => Category, category => category.questions, {
cascade: true
})
@JoinTable()
categories: Category[];
}
const category1 = new Category();
category1.name = "ORMs";
const category2 = new Category();
category2.name = "Programming";
const question = new Question();
question.title = "How to ask questions?";
question.text = "Where can I ask TypeORM-related questions?";
question.categories = [category1, category2];
await connection.manager.save(question);

As you can see in this example we did not call save for category1 and category2. They will be automatically inserted, because we set cascade to true.

Keep in mind - great power comes with great responsibility. Cascades may seem like a good and easy way to work with relations, but they may also bring bugs and security issues when some undesired object is being saved into the database. Also, they provide a less explicit way of saving new objects into the database.

Cascade Options

The cascade option can be set as a boolean or an array of cascade options ("insert" | "update" | "remove" | "soft-remove" | "recover")[].

It will default to false, meaning no cascades. Setting cascade: true will enable full cascades. You can also specify options by providing an array.

For example:

@Entity(Post)
export class Post {
@PrimaryGeneratedColumn()
id: number;
@Column()
title: string;
@Column()
text: string;
// Full cascades on categories.
@ManyToMany(type => PostCategory, {
cascade: true
})
@JoinTable()
categories: PostCategory[];
// Cascade insert here means if there is a new PostDetails instance set
// on this relation, it will be inserted automatically to the db when you save this Post entity
@ManyToMany(type => PostDetails, details => details.posts, {
cascade: ["insert"]
})
@JoinTable()
details: PostDetails[];
// Cascade update here means if there are changes to an existing PostImage, it
// will be updated automatically to the db when you save this Post entity
@ManyToMany(type => PostImage, image => image.posts, {
cascade: ["update"]
})
@JoinTable()
images: PostImage[];
// Cascade insert & update here means if there are new PostInformation instances
// or an update to an existing one, they will be automatically inserted or updated
// when you save this Post entity
@ManyToMany(type => PostInformation, information => information.posts, {
cascade: ["insert", "update"]
})
@JoinTable()
informations: PostInformation[];
}

@JoinColumn options

@JoinColumn not only defines which side of the relation contains the join column with a foreign key, but also allows you to customize join column name and referenced column name.

When we set @JoinColumn, it automatically creates a column in the database named propertyName + referencedColumnName. For example:

@ManyToOne(type => Category)
@JoinColumn() // this decorator is optional for @ManyToOne, but required for @OneToOne
category: Category;

This code will create a categoryId column in the database. If you want to change this name in the database you can specify a custom join column name:

@ManyToOne(type => Category)
@JoinColumn({ name: "cat_id" })
category: Category;

Join columns are always a reference to some other columns (using a foreign key). By default your relation always refers to the primary column of the related entity. If you want to create relation with other columns of the related entity - you can specify them in @JoinColumn as well:

@ManyToOne(type => Category)
@JoinColumn({ referencedColumnName: "name" })
category: Category;

The relation now refers to name of the Category entity, instead of id. Column name for that relation will become categoryName.

You can also join multiple columns. Note that they do not reference the primary column of the related entity by default: you must provide the referenced column name.

@ManyToOne(type => Category)
@JoinColumn([
{ name: "category_id", referencedColumnName: "id" },
{ name: "locale_id", referencedColumnName: "locale_id" }
])
category: Category;

@JoinTable options

@JoinTable is used for many-to-many relations and describes join columns of the "junction" table. A junction table is a special separate table created automatically by TypeORM with columns that refer to the related entities. You can change column names inside junction tables and their referenced columns with @JoinColumn: You can also change the name of the generated "junction" table.

@ManyToMany(type => Category)
@JoinTable({
name: "question_categories", // table name for the junction table of this relation
joinColumn: {
name: "question",
referencedColumnName: "id"
},
inverseJoinColumn: {
name: "category",
referencedColumnName: "id"
}
})
categories: Category[];

If the destination table has composite primary keys, then an array of properties must be sent to @JoinTable.